The gaming industry may change dramatically in the coming generation, especially if some execs are correct about the near future.
Digital specialists at EA and the BBC have informed MCV that in fact, free is the only price gamers are willing to pay for their entertainment. So the "Freemium" – i.e., free-to-play – construct will start to hold sway, even in the console realm. Said EA interactive senior vice-president Nick Earl:
"The future is not about one-time payments, the future is about freemium. A decent number of people convert to paying and they may not pay a lot but most of them actually pay more than you’d think.
I don’t know if freemium gets to console but I do know that humans like free stuff. I also know humans who will pay for something if they’ve tried it out and they like it. I’ve wondered if freemium expands beyond the tablet, Facebook and smartphones, and out into consoles? I don’t think it’s impossible for that to happen."
BBC Worldwide EVP of digital entertainment Robert Nashak was stronger, saying "free is the price point people want to pay for games" and the freemium model will actually increase the overall quality of games. He says it "changes the landscape" and should have a positive effect in general, and BioWare Mythic studio boss Eugene Evans further cites rental firms like Blockbuster as proof that freemium works.
Of course, I had to pay to rent those games, but that apparently got lost in the analysis. When Eugene rented those ten games a night, he was dropping a good $50 or $60, if I remember Blockbuster's pricing correctly. …seems expensive. But anyway, they're probably right about one thing: the current trend is definitely "we don't really want to pay for anything," so the experts in this case are probably right.